Film Commissioners, No Less than Film Stars

Film Commissioners can be powerful people and usually have good connections with business as well as political leaders. Here’s a video (shot a few years back) that shows the Cannes Film Festival receiving film commissioners as film stars.

So what exactly do these people do? What does the job description of a film commissioner look like?

In the past, we have seen how film tourism has a positive impact on local development. Film commissions around the world are trying to capitalise on this aspect and have devised strategies that will help promote their regions to potential filmmakers. A film commisioner is sort of a CEO, who tries to help them achieve these goals.

A film commissioner understands the business aspects of film production, has effective marketing techniques, understands economic development impact and knows how to report it, and also has good alliances and partnerships with crew, guilds, unions, and economic development officials.

His/her objective is to market their jurisdiction, develop/promote their film incentives programs, do scouting to figure out the best places for filming, besides working with production and clients within the local jurisdiction.

Here’s a video where Peter BUSUTTIL (former Film Commissioner of the Malta Film Commission) discusses about services to international producers offered by his film commission, about local development, and about Malta’s government long-term vision of cinema, both as art and business.

  • A film commission office is about relationships: building them, managing them, and effectively using them to produce results. These relationships are key to the success and sustainability of a film commission office.
  • Film commissioners are good at mediation, strategic planning and public speaking.
  • A strong film commissioner is not only versed in the world of film production, but also has a keen business sense and understands the ins and outs of funding and budgeting. How funding comes in, how it is tracked and how it is reported will vary greatly depending upon whether the film commission is government based or an independent not for profit, and in which part of the world.
  • Film commissioners also need to have management/operational skills where they spend time dealing with the day to day issues of employees, managing workflow in a office and generally also do day to day office work.